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The Lawfare Podcast: Tunisia's New Constitution

Jen Patja, Scott R. Anderson, Sarah Yerkes, Sharan Grewal
Thursday, August 11, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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The country of Tunisia is in the midst of a slow motion political crisis. The country's populist president has crafted a new constitution that gives him broad, unchecked powers and secured its approval by referendum, albeit a referendum in which most Tunisians did not participate. What's not clear is whether other factions will acquiesce to his exceptional actions, and whether those actions will prove to be the antidote for corruption that he has promised or the nail in the coffin for what had been the Arab Spring's last surviving democracy.

To discuss these developments and what they might mean, Scott R. Anderson sat down with Sarah Yerkes, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Program, and Sharan Grewal, an assistant professor of government at the College of William and Mary and a non-resident fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. They discussed where the new constitution came from, what it may mean in practice, and how it will impact Tunisia and the broader region's future.

Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Sarah Yerkes is a visiting fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow. She is a former member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, where she focused on North Africa.
Sharan Grewal is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. His research examines democratization, security studies, and political Islam in the Arab world, especially Egypt and Tunisia.

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